• Global Health NOW: What a Major Resignation Means for Research


    What a Major Resignation Means for Research

    The “largely unprecedented” resignation of Stanford University president and neuroscientist Marc Tessier-Lavigne over manipulations in past research could be a “tipping point” in conversations around research conduct, reports STAT.

    The findings, and fallout: After Stanford’s student newspaper flagged signs of data manipulation in neuroscience research Tessier-Lavigne oversaw, the school formed a panel to review his papers, reports The Washington Post.

    While the panel found that Tessier-Lavigne did not engage in any fraudulent activity, he “failed to decisively and forthrightly correct mistakes in the scientific record.”

    In his resignation letter, Tessier-Lavigne said the school needed fresh leadership, and that he would retract and correct problematic papers.

    Wider repercussions: The case raises a series of “thorny questions” in the world of collaborative research, including:

    Who takes credit—and blame? In labs where research is largely performed by graduate students and postdocs, what are supervisors’ obligations?

    Clamping down on data manipulation—a trend many scientists are “not comfortable talking about openly,” said one researcher.

    The perils of ‘publish or perish’: The pressure for researchers to publish can encourage them to fudge findings, experts say.

    Critical corrections: “I think it is the start of a new era of accountability in science,” said one Stanford neuroscience PhD student, who predicted a “wave” of principal investigators issuing corrections.

    #Recherche_scientifique #Evaluation #Stanford

  • Review of “Palo Alto” by Malcolm Harris - The Washington Post

    Here’s an enchanting myth: In Northern California lies a new Olympus, a metaphorical summit whose rarefied air sustains flip-flopped geniuses as they change the world with their brilliant, unconventional ideas. They’ve done it this way since they were LSD-dropping hippies, or maybe since they bailed out of Harvard and set up shop in their parents’ garages. This is their kingdom now, Palo Alto, with Stanford University at its core, the beating heart of Silicon Valley, a site of pilgrimage for aspiring disrupters, where the misunderstood can find room to grow.
    (Little, Brown and Company)

    Too good to be true? Malcolm Harris’s “Palo Alto: A History of California, Capitalism, and the World” cuts past the deceit, examining the histories the fable dresses up in heroic garb. Doing for Palo Alto — population 70,000 — what Mike Davis’s classic “City of Quartz” did for Los Angeles, Harris reconsiders 200 years of history that many in the town would rather forget. Over more than 600 concussive pages, Harris narrates the town’s evolution and influence throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. He theorizes, above all, that it is defined by its distinctive approach to capitalism and profit, known as the “Palo Alto System”: a rapacious, violently exploitative mode of capitalism that generations of would-be moguls have perfected. “Palo Alto” is a skeptic’s record, a vital, critical demonstration of Northern California’s two centuries of mixing technology and cruelty for money.

    Harris, born and raised in Palo Alto, home to one of the most unequal and competitive school districts in the country, understands the consequences of a town obsessed with achievement and built on destruction. Most accounts of U.S. tech culture, like Stanford professor Fred Turner’s “From Counterculture to Cyberculture” or Richard Barbrook and Andy Cameron’s landmark essay “The Californian Ideology,” follow technology’s trail to the military-industrial complex of the 1940s and ’50s and to the counterculture of the 1960s. Historians of California, for their part, have written extensively about the importance of the railroad and other technologies to the state’s brutal regimes of exploitation that catalyzed its furiously accelerated early development. Harris is interested both in the ideology of tech entrepreneurs and in the labor practices that underlie their ideas, ultimately rooting the dynamics that built Silicon Valley in practices old as the United States itself.

    A Montana cowboy, troubled by the violence that ’won’ the West

    In the 1830s, the region’s Anglophone settlers rebelled and declared themselves part of the United States instead of Mexico. Subsequently, the region’s Indigenous populations — named the Ohlone by anthropologists and settlers though there were dozens of distinct groups in the area — were nearly exterminated as the United States reneged on treaties, enslaving, displacing and slaughtering entire communities in the process. By 1850, in the throes of the Gold Rush, mass migration populated the West with Americans and spurred the Golden State’s first technological innovations. “California engineers,” experts in maximizing mining yields for the already wealthy who could afford to assemble large-scale, mechanized operations, were soon in demand the world over. Harris distills the settlers’ formula: “Anglos rule; all natives are Indians; all land and water is just gold waiting to happen.”

    As easily accessible gold ran out, those lucky (or cutthroat) enough to survive the bust mostly pivoted to other endeavors. Here, Harris spots an incipient pattern that continues to play out: Wealthy investors pile their money into “promising” endeavors after being charmed by enchanting visionaries who grow fabulously rich — almost always before the venture has succeeded (or even begun operations). The investments raise the valuation of the business and facilitate further cycles of capitalization, so that executives need not worry about generating profits or revenue, or having a workable project. Environmental destruction, resource depletion and worker exploitation ensued in 19th-century California, Harris shows, and those same consequences recur in our time.

    Criminals thought crypto was untraceable. They sure were wrong.

    Even while attending to larger patterns, “Palo Alto” studiously works through the town’s history by focusing on its most famous and influential residents. Our first star is Leland Stanford, railroad baron and university founder. Stanford got his start by managing the Sacramento location of his brother’s dry-goods business, and expanded quickly throughout the area. Through sheer persistence and wealth, he became governor of California and a senior adviser to President Abraham Lincoln, whom he persuaded to greenlight a railroad linking California with the East Coast. The venture left Stanford one of the world’s wealthiest men, though not, Harris suggests, by his own merit, especially “given the amount of financial chicanery going on” and his reputation as a “big oaf.”

    As time went on, disgruntled former employees kept protesting at Stanford’s San Francisco manor, so he bought a farm off the Santa Clara County train tracks called Mayfield Grange and renamed it Palo Alto after an imposing sequoia tree nearby. Racehorse breeding was Stanford’s passion, and he built out the facilities to host a top-level stable, with genetic optimization as his priority. Harris suggests that “the Palo Alto Stock Farm was really in the business of intellectual property,” like a Google or Apple of equine genetics. Stanford even hired photographer “Helios” (Eadweard Muybridge), whose groundbreaking visual experiments served as promotional materials affirming Stanford’s place on the cutting edge.

    Stanford’s commitment to “disruptive” logic — efficiency uber alles — lives on as Palo Alto’s guiding principle, the aforementioned “Palo Alto System.” The system matured as West Coast capitalists emancipated themselves from Eastern funds and companies that financed the early generations of entrepreneurs. To this day, entrepreneurs and investors prioritize start-ups’ capacity to scale rapidly over profits, revenue or even functionality. Harris shows that monopoly, in Palo Alto’s imagination, is the only acceptable possibility. Latter chapters of “Palo Alto” feature failures such as Pets.com, as well as familiar giants such as Amazon and Facebook, all of which relied heavily on this system. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.) With destructive conditions for factory workers, and payment systems that distribute stock options instead of wages to employees, highly valued start-ups often lumber on for years without profits or, sometimes, even a product.
    A general view of White Plaza at Stanford University campus in Stanford, Ca., 1988. In the background is Hoover Plaza. (AP Photo)

    Leland Stanford left his mark on the region in other ways, too. After his son, Leland Jr., died young, the former governor and his wife, Jane, founded Leland Stanford Junior University, and the institution soon became Palo Alto’s epicenter. In exploring Palo Alto’s history, Harris has an eye for scandals, often emerging out of the university itself — like the murder of Jane Stanford, in which the school’s first president, David Starr Jordan, was apparently involved — and hypocrisy, particularly around eugenics and military funding. Many of Stanford’s early luminaries, Jordan chief among them, were obsessed with eugenics, and Harris suggests that their inheritors — including Frederick Terman and William Shockley, regarded as the founders of modern-day Silicon Valley — kept up the game to varying degrees.
    Herbert Hoover signs unemployment and drought relief bills in 1930. (AP Photo)

    No alum better symbolizes Stanford, for Harris, than its first U.S. president: Herbert Hoover, “a representative of the worldwide ruling class, super-imperialism personified.” Hoover studied geology and graduated near the bottom of Stanford’s first class, but quickly became a world-renowned “California engineer” specializing in mining. Rising to the presidency, he perfected another Palo Alto trademark that Harris calls the “associative model” — “the free, voluntary association of businessmen in their common interest,” ensuring profits for the select few in the loop and freezing out everyone else. Hoover was Stanford’s perfect man, a relentless, self-made capitalist elitist who remained massively influential after the ignominious end of his presidency thanks to his membership in the San Francisco Bohemian Club, where he functioned as a “global kingmaker” until his death.
    Malcolm Harris. (Julia Burke)

    “Palo Alto” continues onward, ranging from San Francisco’s Black beat poet laureate Bob Kaufman to MK-Ultra, the Black Panthers, the Homebrew Computer Club, Sun Microsystems, Elon Musk, Amazon warehouses and beyond. Famous names give way to dark histories, including the redlining and subsequent ghettoization of East Palo Alto, but also stretching beyond the region to encompass the Iran-contra affair and more. Harris’s fervent argumentation sometimes feels repetitious or meandering, but conviction and research burn through the page and give coherence and urgency to a daunting subject. Alas, a concluding call for the restitution of Palo Alto to the descendants of its original inhabitants, the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe, feels underwhelming, partly because their struggle remains marginal throughout a book that more frequently focuses on the oppression of Latin American, Asian and Black workers and residents.

    Harris demonstrates that the charming story with which we began, in which hippies freed the world by virtue of their genius and creativity, was always a convenient deception. That narrative avoids mentioning decades of profiteering in U.S. imperial pursuits, from Vietnam to Nicaragua to Iraq; the nepotism and exploitation that built these would-be saviors’ fortunes; and, above all, the murderous displacements that created present-day Palo Alto. Though the town’s ideologues aspire to sun-soaked ascension above earthly clouds, their Olympus was always shrouded in shadows. Only by acknowledging its failings can the damage be repaired — if it’s not too late.

    Federico Perelmuter is a writer from Buenos Aires.
    Palo Alto

    A History of California, Capitalism, and the World

    By Malcolm Harris

    Little, Brown. 708 pp. $36

    #Silicon_Valley #Stanford #Palo_Alto

  • La Californie dédommage les victimes de stérilisation forcée Katja Schaer/jfe

    L’Etat de Californie, aux Etats-Unis, a décidé cette semaine d’octroyer 7,5 millions de dollars de son budget aux victimes de stérilisation forcée. La pratique remonte au début du XXe siècle, portée par plusieurs scientifiques de renom favorables à l’eugénisme.

    Au moins 20’000 personnes - femmes et hommes - ont subi une stérilisation forcée en Californie. Mais ce chiffre est peut-être l’arbre qui cache la forêt, les documents et les données étant difficiles à se procurer et souvent gardés secrets.

    La stérilisation forcée trouve son origine au XIXe siècle. A l’époque, plusieurs pans de la médecine convergent vers le même objectif : l’amélioration de la race humaine.

    Cette amélioration passe notamment par la stérilisation forcées des personnes jugées « anormales ». En 1909, la Californie adopte alors sa première loi eugéniste, qui l’autorise à stériliser les personnes emprisonnées et institutionnalisées.

    La loi va connaître deux modifications qui permettront d’élargir la définition de l’anormalité. Les personnes handicapées, les malades psychiques et mentaux, les pauvres et les personnes de couleur - en particulier d’origine latine - pourront être stérilisées. De nombreuses femmes jugées « sursexuées » seront elles aussi soumises à cette procédure.

    Officiellement, la loi autorisant la stérilisation forcée a été invalidée en 1979. La pratique a toutefois été maintenue dans les prisons. Les dernières affaires remontent à 2014.

    La pratique était autorisée dans la majorité des Etats américains, mais la Californie compte pour un tiers des quelque 60’000 interventions pratiquées à l’échelle nationale.

    Basée sur l’eugénisme
    Si la stérilisation forcée a été si largement appliquée en Californie, c’est parce qu’au début du XXe siècle, l’Etat est l’épicentre de la pensée eugéniste aux Etats-Unis. L’amélioration de la race s’est imposée en science et la Californie abrite plusieurs scientifiques de renom, favorables à cette théorie.

    Ce concept est même porté par les grandes universités, comme Stanford, notamment. En 1920, le président de l’université californienne, David Starr Jordan, postule que des traits de caractères ou mêmes des conditions sociales comme le talent et la précarité, sont héréditaires.

    Le directeur s’oppose au mélange de races et déplore ce qu’il appelle le déclin de la race nordique, à laquelle il associe les Anglo-Saxons. Ces scientifiques n’auraient pas pu exister sans l’aide d’organisations comme l’institution Carnegie ou la fondation Rockefeller.

    Au début du XXe siècle, Oliver Wendell Holmes, juge à la Cour suprême américaine, soutient la pratique de la stérilisation forcée. Ses propos seront d’ailleurs repris pour défendre les pratiques nazies lors du procès de Nuremberg.

    #eugénisme #racisme #transhumanisme #stérilisation #contraception_forcée #histoire #santé #inégalités #femmes #stérilisation #Pauvres #Femmes #Hommes #nefants #Californie #USA #états_unis #Stanford #philanthropie #philanthropes #Carnegie #Rockefeller #philanthrocapitalisme #philanthropie

    • La Californie, cet état qu’on nous présente toujours comme un paradis.
      Quand aux bienfaiteurs professionnels de l’institution Carnegie ou de la fondation Rockefeller, ce sont aussi des innocents professionnels.

    • En France,le nombre de stérilisations dans la population générale, déjà peu élevé, a diminué au cours des dix dernières années, il est de 22.000environ par an.Pour les handicapés, aucune enquête n’était disponible, en matière ni de stérilisation, ni de contraception. La mission a réalisé une étude spécifique à partir des actes de stérilisation masculine et féminine effectués en1995 et1996 dans les hôpitaux publics et quelques établissements privés, selon les données du PMSI.D’après ces données déclaratives, l’ampleur du phénomène, notamment pour les personnes handicapées, apparaît faible, mais non marginal . On a ainsi repéré en 1996 environ 15 cas de stérilisation d’hommes handicapés sur les 423 actes de ligatures des canaux déférents et quand même 2% de stérilisations de femmes, handicapées ou en grandes difficultés sociales, selon le diagnostic associé, c’est à dire 211 cas sur10.453. Enfin, la tranche d’âge des femmes de moins de 25 ans qui ont eu une ligature bilatérale des trompes comprend vingt femmes, soit un quart de l’effectif.


  • The techlash has come to Stanford.

    Palantir is about a 15-minute walk from Stanford University. That stone’s-throw convenience helped one morning in June when a group of Stanford students perched on the third story of a parking garage across the street from the data-analytics company’s entrance and unfurled a banner to greet employees as they walked into work: “OUR SOFTWARE IS SO POWERFUL IT SEPARATES FAMILIES.”

    The students were protesting Palantir software that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement uses to log information on asylum-seekers, helping the agency make arrests of undocumented family members who come to pick them up. The activists are members of a campus group called SLAP—Students for the Liberation of All People—that was founded by Stanford freshmen the winter after Donald Trump was elected president. At first, the group focused on concerns shared by leftist activists around the country: On the day of Trump’s inauguration, for example, members blocked the doors of a Wells Fargo near campus to protest the bank’s funding of the Dakota Access Pipeline and its history of racist lending practices. These days, though, SLAP has turned its attention to the industry in its backyard: Big Tech.

    This might all sound like standard campus activism. But many of SLAP’s peers don’t see the group—and another, softer-edged student organization called CS+Social Good—as marginal or a nuisance. Even computer science students whom I interviewed told me they were grateful SLAP is making noise about Silicon Valley, and that their concerns reflect a growing campus skepticism of the technology industry, even among students training to join it.

    Many of the computer science students at Stanford I talked to oscillated as they described how they feel about companies like Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, and Google. Some told me they would never work for one of these companies. Others would but hope to push for change from within. Some students don’t care at all, but even the ones who would never think twice about taking a job at Facebook aren’t blind to how the company is perceived. “It probably varies person to person, but I’m at least hopeful that more of the Stanford CS community is thoughtful and critical of the morality of choosing a place to work these days, rather than just chasing prestige,” Neel Rao, a computer science undergrad at Stanford, told me in an online chat. “And that a lot of this is due to increasing coverage of major tech scandals, and its effect on mainstream public sentiment and distrust.”

    But unlike Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility—and in contrast with the current direct-action approach of SLAP—CS+Social Good is primarily focused on changing computer science higher education from the inside. The organization has worked with the university to create new electives in Stanford’s CS department, like “A.I. for Social Good” and studio classes that allow students to partner with nonprofits on tech projects and get credits. And CS+Social Good has expanded to other campuses too—there are now more than a dozen chapters at campuses across the country. At Stanford, CS+Social Good counts more than 70 core members, though well over 1,000 students have attended its events or are enrolled in the classes it’s helped design.

    #Techlash #Stanford #Ethique #Informatique

  • Facial Recognition Tech Is Growing Stronger, Thanks to Your Face - The New York Times

    Dozens of databases of people’s faces are being compiled without their knowledge by companies and researchers, with many of the images then being shared around the world, in what has become a vast ecosystem fueling the spread of facial recognition technology.

    #reconnaissance_faciale #Google #Stanford #Microsoft #facebook #données

    • Comme tu dis !
      A new study brings a whole new meaning to the term ‘dirty movie’, as online porn has been found to be responsible for 100 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year.

      The Shift Project’s ‘Climate crisis: The unsustainable use of online video’ report found that a third of all videos viewed online are porn, and that watching online adult entertainment emits just under 100 million tons of CO2 emissions. The emissions generated in 2018 were of the same “magnitude as that of the residential sector in France,” the report found.

  • Les Natoufiens fabriquaient de la bière il y a 13 000 ans (avant l’arrivée de l’agriculture).

    Les premières preuves archéologiques de brassage de la bière à base de céréales avant même l’arrivée de l’agriculture proviennent des Natoufiens, des populations semi-sédentaires, vivant en Méditerranée orientale entre le Paléolithique et le Néolithique, après la dernière période glaciaire. Les Natoufians de la grotte de Raqefet ont collecté des plantes disponibles localement, stocké des graines maltées et fabriqué de la bière dans le cadre de leurs rituels.

    « (...) avec la production de bière, les vestiges de la grotte Raqefet offrent une image très vivante et colorée des modes de vie natoufiens, de leurs capacités technologiques et de leurs inventions. »

    (...) Les résultats indiquent que les Natoufiens ont exploité au moins sept types de plantes associés aux mortiers, notamment du blé ou de l’orge, de l’avoine, des légumineuses et des fibres libériennes (y compris le lin). Ils ont emballé des aliments végétaux dans des contenants en fibre et les ont stockés dans des mortiers à blocs. Ils ont utilisé des mortiers de roche-mère pour piler et cuire des aliments végétaux, et pour brasser de la bière à base de blé / orge, probablement servis dans des fêtes rituelles il y a 13 000 ans.

    Les modèles d’usure et d’assemblage microbotanique suggèrent que deux des trois mortiers à blocs examinés ont été utilisés comme conteneurs de stockage pour les aliments végétaux - y compris les malts de blé et d’orge. Ils étaient probablement recouverts de couvercles, probablement faits de dalles de pierre et d’autres matériaux. Les aliments ont probablement été placés dans des paniers en fibres libériennes pour faciliter leur manipulation. Les puits étroits et profonds peuvent avoir fourni des conditions fraîches convenant au stockage des aliments, en particulier pour la conservation des malts de céréales.

    En combinant les données sur l’usure et les résidus, le troisième mortier étudié a été interprété comme un récipient multifonctionnel destiné à la préparation des aliments, comprenant des aliments végétaux et de la bière à base de blé / orge, probablement avec des légumineuses et d’autres plantes.

    Les preuves de brassage de bière à la grotte de Raqefet, il y a 13 000 ans, constituent un autre exemple des complexes sociaux et rituels du Natouf. Le brassage de la bière peut avoir été, au moins en partie, une motivation sous-jacente à la culture de céréales dans le sud du Levant, confirmant l’hypothèse de la bière proposée par les archéologues il ya plus de 60 ans.

    #Préhistoire #Natoufiens #alcool #Asie #Moyen_Orient
    #Li_Liu #Stanford_University #Danny Rosenberg #University_d'Haifa
    #Hao_Zhao #Université_de_Zhengzhou

    A prehistoric thirst for craft beer

  • The Million Dollar Dissident: NSO Group’s iPhone Zero-Days used against a UAE Human Rights Defender

    We recognized the links as belonging to an exploit infrastructure connected to #NSO_Group, an Israel-based “cyber war” company that sells #Pegasus, a government-exclusive “lawful intercept” spyware product. NSO Group is reportedly owned by an American venture capital firm, #Francisco_Partners_Management.

    #flagrant_délit #médias_dominants #mensonge_par_omission #lemonde

    lemonde :

    L’identité et l’activité de la cible, le prix qu’il a fallu dépenser et le fournisseur du logiciel espion ne laissent guère place au doute, selon #Citizen_Labs : le commanditaire est très certainement le gouvernement émirati.



    Everything We Know About NSO Group: The Professional Spies Who Hacked iPhones With A Single Text

    #espionnage #apple #droits_de_l'humain #Ahmed_Mansoor #lanceur_d'alerte

    • June 20, 2016
      Francisco Partners et Elliott Management acquièrent Dell Software Group

      “La vraie passion pour la technologie et la solide expérience de Francisco Partners et Elliott Management à développer des entreprises de logiciel permettra aux employés de Dell Software de continuer à promouvoir l’innovation,” a déclaré Tom Sweet, vice-président senior et directeur financier, Dell. “Nous nous réjouissons de continuer à travailler en étroite collaboration avec les équipes de Francisco Partners et Elliott Management pour améliorer encore les relations déjà grandes que Dell Software a avec ses clients et partenaires.”

      La gamme complète de solutions logicielles de Dell Software couvrent un certain nombre de domaines essentiels pour l’entreprise moderne comprenant des systèmes d’analyse avancée, la gestion de base de données, la protection des données, la gestion des postes clients, la gestion des identités et des accès, la gestion des plateformes Microsoft, la sécurité des réseaux et le suivi de performance. Grâce aux solutions de Dell Software, les organisations de toutes tailles peuvent mieux sécuriser, gérer, surveiller, protéger et analyser les informations et les infrastructures afin d’accélérer l’innovation et leur modernisation.

    • WP :
      Industry Private Equity
      Founded 1999
      Founders David Stanton, Dipanjan Deb, Benjamin Ball, Neil Garfinkel, Sanford R. “Sandy” Robertson

      Newly elected members of the #Stanford_University Board of Trustees are, clockwise from upper left, Mary Barra, #Dipanjan_DJ_Deb, Christy MacLear and Bradley A. Geier. (Courtesy Board of Trustees)

  • « Je ne vous oublierai jamais » : Joe Biden écrit à la victime du #viol de #Stanford

    L’affaire vient de prendre une nouvelle ampleur avec la publication d’une lettre ouverte du vice-président des Etats-Unis, Joe Biden, qui a fait parvenir son texte à Buzzfeed. Adressée « à une jeune fille courageuse », la lettre commence ainsi : « Je ne connais pas votre nom – mais vos mots sont gravés à jamais dans mon âme. »

    « Je suis empli de colère – à la fois que cela vous soit arrivé, et que notre société ait réussi à vous demander encore de défendre votre propre valeur, écrit le vice-président. Vous avez été victime d’une culture qui existe sur nos campus, où une femme sur cinq subit une agression sexuelle, année après année. Une culture qui promeut la passivité, qui encourage les jeunes filles et les jeunes gens à fermer les yeux sur ce qui s’y passe. »

    Dénonçant la tendance à reporter la faute sur les victimes, Joe Biden promet de « continuer à parler, pour changer la culture de nos campus, une culture qui continue à poser les mauvaises questions : que portiez-vous ? Pourquoi étiez-vous là ? Qu’avez-vous dit ? Combien d’alcool avez-vous bu ? Au lieu de demander : comment a-t-il pu penser qu’il avait le droit de violer ? »

    Joe Biden a supervisé et défendu le vote au Congrès du Violence Against Women Act (loi contre la violence envers les femmes), alors qu’il était encore sénateur, en 1994. Ce texte visait à renforcer la protection des victimes de viol et d’agressions sexuelles.

  • We Are Hopelessly Hooked | The New York Review of Books (Jacob Weisberg, 25 février 2016)

    Some of Silicon Valley’s most successful app designers are alumni of the Persuasive Technology Lab at #Stanford, a branch of the university’s Human Sciences and Technologies Advanced Research Institute. The lab was founded in 1998 by B.J. Fogg, whose graduate work “used methods from experimental psychology to demonstrate that computers can change people’s thoughts and behaviors in predictable ways,” according to the center’s website. Fogg teaches undergraduates and runs “persuasion boot camps” for tech companies. He calls the field he founded “captology,” a term derived from an acronym for “computers as persuasive technology.” It’s an apt name for the discipline of capturing people’s #attention and making it hard for them to escape. Fogg’s behavior model involves building habits through the use of what he calls “hot triggers,” like the links and photos in Facebook’s newsfeed, made up largely of posts by one’s Facebook friends.

    (…) As consumers, we can also pressure technology companies to engineer apps that are less distracting. If product design has a conscience at the moment, it may be Tristan Harris, a former B.J. Fogg student at Stanford who worked until recently as an engineer at Google. In several lectures available on YouTube, Harris argues that an “attention economy” is pushing us all to spend time in ways we recognize as unproductive and unsatisfying, but that we have limited capacity to control. #Tech_companies are engaged in “a race to the bottom of the brain stem,” in which rewards go not to those that help us spend our time wisely, but to those that keep us mindlessly pulling the lever at the casino.

    Harris wants engineers to consider human values like the notion of “time well spent” in the design of consumer technology. Most of his proposals are “nudge”-style tweaks and signals to encourage more conscious choices. For example, Gmail or Facebook might begin a session by asking you how much time you want to spend with it that day, and reminding you when you’re nearing the limit. Messaging apps might be reengineered to privilege attention over interruption. iTunes could downgrade games that are frequently deleted because users find them too addictive.

    A propos de quatre bouquins :

    Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age, by Sherry Turkle

    Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other, by Sherry Turkle

    Reading the Comments: Likers, Haters, and Manipulators at the Bottom of the Web, by Joseph M. Reagle Jr.

    Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, by Nir Eyal with Ryan Hoover

    #écrans #conversation #commentaires #addiction #critique_techno #temps #déconnexion via @opironet

  • Get Rich U. - The New Yorker (avril 2012)

    If the Ivy League was the breeding ground for the élites of the American Century, #Stanford is the farm system for #Silicon_Valley.


    In 1998, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who were graduate students, showed Hennessy their work on search software that they later called #Google. He typed in the name Gerhard Casper, and instead of getting results for Casper the Friendly Ghost, as he did on AltaVista, up popped links to Gerhard Casper the president of Stanford. He was thrilled when members of the engineering faculty mentored Page and Brin and later became Google investors, consultants, and shareholders. Since Stanford owned the rights to Google’s search technology, he was also thrilled when, in 2005, the stock grants that Stanford had received in exchange for licensing the technology were sold for three hundred and thirty-six million dollars.

    In 1999, after Condoleezza Rice stepped down as provost to become the chief foreign-policy adviser to the Republican Presidential candidate George W. Bush, Casper offered Hennessy the position of chief academic and financial officer of the university. Soon afterward, Hennessy induced a former electrical-engineering faculty colleague, James Clark, who had founded Silicon Graphics (which purchased MIPS), to give a hundred and fifty million dollars to create the James H. Clark Center for medical and scientific research. Less than a year later, Casper stepped down as president and Hennessy replaced him.

    Hennessy joined Cisco’s corporate board in 2002, and Google’s in 2004. It is not uncommon for a university president to be on corporate boards. According to James Finkelstein, a professor at George Mason University’s School of Public Policy, a third of college presidents serve on the boards of one or more publicly traded companies. Hennessy says that his outside board work has made him a better president. “Both Google and Cisco face—and all companies in a high-tech space face—a problem that’s very similar to the ones universities face: how do they maintain a sense of innovation, of a willingness to do the new thing?” he says.

    #tech_companies #startups #université

  • This free online #encyclopedia has achieved what #Wikipedia can only dream of - Quartz

    Another benefit of the [#Stanford_Encyclopedia_of_Philosophy] SEP’s not being #crowdsourced is that minority views get more exposure. Wikipedia’s overview of feminist philosophy is hopelessly short. The SEP has dozens of meticulously researched entries. A 2012 survey by Wikimedia, Wikipedia’s parent organization, found that about 90% of its volunteers were men. “Its entries on Pokemon and female porn stars are comprehensive, but its pages on female novelists or places in sub-Saharan Africa are sketchy,” said the MIT Technology Review in its article The Decline of Wikipedia, which criticizes its byzantine editing hierarchy. The same goes for an important idea in philosophy: feminism. Wikipedia’s overview of feminist philosophy is hopelessly short. The SEP, on the other hand, is home to dozens of meticulously researched entries on the topic.

    So the SEP model works, and it has 1,500 fact-checked, peer-reviewed entries to prove it.


    The #internet should look more like the SEP

    The SEP is a highly rare case of knowledge being separated from the trash heap. The question is, can we make more of the internet like this?

    #open_access avec un business model très intéressant (les bibliothèques universitaires investissent dans une fondation qui offre la promesse de mises à jour ad vitam eternam, promesse soutenue par la fondation-mère de Stanford).

  • CIA-backed #Palantir valued at $9bn - FT.com
    http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/996fa9e0-5dde-11e3-b3e8-00144feabdc0.html #paywall

    Palantir’s initial funding came from #In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s not-for-profit venture capital firm, and it has received several rounds of funding from the Founder’s Fund, a venture capital fund run by former PayPal chief executive and Facebook backer #Peter_Thiel. Other venture capital investors include Glenn Capital Management and Ulu Ventures.
    The company raised almost $200m in a fundraising round less than three months ago, and then also would not disclose the identity of the investors. Founded by #PayPal alumni and #Stanford computer scientists in 2004, the company has raised almost $800m in total.

    The CIA and the FBI use the Palantir platform to seek patterns in large amounts of disparate data which can be used to help guide their actions, for example, in the tracking of terror suspects, drug trafficking or cyber crime.

    But Palantir’s work for the private sector is the fastest growing part of the business, and now makes up more than 60 per cent. It offers companies anti-fraud services, warnings about insider trading threats and programmes which promise to help accelerate the research and development process in the pharmaceuticals industry.

  • Reaching for Silicon Valley [At the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta — sur fond de contentieux et de chips]
    NYTimes.com - Nick Wingfield 16/11/13

    At Stanford, in the heart of #Silicon_Valley, academic research with an eye toward private industry — that “quasi-Wild West way” — is a way of life.

    No other university has been associated with so many big tech giants created by former students and faculty members— companies including Google, Cisco Systems, Sun Microsystems and Hewlett-Packard. A study conducted last year by two Stanford professors estimated that nearly 40,000 active companies generating annual revenue of $2.7 trillion can trace their roots in some way to #Stanford.

    The university’s affiliation with so many of these spin-outs, as they are known, is lucrative as well as legendary. Stanford has earned about $337 million just from licensing to Google its search algorithm, which was developed while the company’s co-founders were in graduate school.

    One of Stanford’s closest rivals in creating spin-outs has been the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which played a role in the creation of Akamai, iRobot and the E Ink Corporation. Many other schools with respected computer engineering programs, including Cornell and the University of Washington, are all doing more to copy Stanford’s success in commercializing technologies, which can benefit the schools through #patent licensing fees, alumni donations and the cachet that attracts future generations of students.

    Aux #Etats-Unis, les liens entre #université et #startups sont étroits. Une certaine culture de l’#entreprenariat qui fait naître des #tech_companies, ce qui ne va pas sans #conflits_d'intérêts. De là à la #silicon_army...

  • The San Francisco Bay Area and its Awkward Relationship with “Africa”

    #immigration is almost always about the hustle. Whether you are a professor, a student, or a musician, you have to work hard to both pay rent and deal with a plethora of patronizing ignorance. And being an immigrant from Africa adds another layer of frustration. Everyone here knows about the misperceptions and negative imagery cast […]

    #FILM #MEDIA #Berkeley #Brenda_Mutuma #Ethiopia #Francisco_Garcia_Hristov #Ghana #Nana_Osei-Opare #Nancy_Oppongmea_McClymonds #Oakland #San_Franciso #Silicon_Valley #Stanford_University #Tom_Shoes

  • ’Tech’ Is Misnomer for Internet Giants | Business

    The British humorist Douglas Adams once summed up the trajectory of computers and the internet in four teleological sentences: "First, we thought the PC was a calculator. Then we found out how to turn numbers into letters with ASCII—and we thought it was a typewriter. Then we discovered graphics, and we thought it was a television." Finally, observed Adams, "with the World Wide Web, we’ve realized it’s a brochure."

    They aren’t about math and science and building things. They are about acquiring, processing, and selling information to steer consumers toward a purchase.
    Of course, the computer is all these things today, and now with ubiquitous wireless networks, the computer has become the all-in-one mobile device. It’s the phone-camera-computer-walkman-TV-gameboy-GPS all in one.

    Je découvre ces « teleological sentences » de D. Adams et je les trouve belles.

    With one #algorithm Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin built an advertising giant the likes of which the world has never seen. The first step, in classic Silicon Valley tech form, was to patent the invention in order to create an extremely valuable monopoly. Patent No. 6,285,999, a “method for node ranking in a linked database,” did the trick. Stanford University owned the rights and licensed the invention to Page and Brin (who conveniently put the president of the university on their company’s board of directors). The terms of that license remain undisclosed, but it has #Google paying #Stanford a pretty penny. That single patented equation allowed Google to offer a search engine that provided, on average, search results that were of seemingly higher quality, and more relevant to users.

    Then in a flurry of activity that has never stopped, Google’s code writers proceeded to file 228 distinct #patents based directly on the original “method for node ranking in a linked database” invention. On top of this, the company filed another 3,079 patents, the majority of which are intended to monopolize infinitely more clever means of gathering and processing the personal and social information of web users so as to sell ads at higher and higher rates.

    So why do we call Google a “tech” company if most of what it does is advertising? (...) Perhaps then #Silicon_Valley ’s finest should be called the new ad industry?

    #tech_companies #publicité

  • Cory Booker’s Silicon Valley Friendships Started at Stanford - NYTimes.com

    De l’#université au Sénat, c’est #entre_soi que se compose la #silicon_army

    So how did the mayor of Newark, a city far removed from #Silicon_Valley in many ways, make these friends in the first place?

    The answer is #Stanford University, according to interviews with Mr. Booker’s friends in tech.

  • Rebecca Solnit · Diary : Google Invades · LRB 7 February 2013

    San Francisco’s tech boom has often been compared to the Gold Rush, but without much discussion about what the Gold Rush meant beyond the cute images of bearded men in plaid shirts with pickaxes looking a lot like gay men in the Castro in the 1970s. When gold was discovered in 1848, employees left their posts, sailors abandoned their ships, and San Francisco – then a tiny port town called Yerba Buena – was deserted. In the Mother Lode, some got rich; many died of contagious diseases, the lousy diet, rough life and violence; some went broke and crawled back to the US, as the settled eastern half of the country was called when the gold country was an outpost of newcomers mostly arriving by ship and the American West still largely belonged to the indigenous people.

    Supplying the miners and giving them places to spend their money became as lucrative as mining and much more secure. Quite a lot of the early fortunes were made by shopkeepers: Levi Strauss got his start that way, and so did Leland #Stanford, who founded the university that founded #Silicon_Valley. The Mexicans who had led a fairly gracious life on vast ranches before the Gold Rush were largely dispossessed and the Native Californians were massacred, driven out of their homes; they watched their lands be destroyed by mining, starved or died of disease: the Native population declined by about four-fifths during this jolly spree.

    #San_Francisco exploded in the rush, growing by leaps and bounds, a freewheeling town made up almost exclusively of people from elsewhere, mostly male, often young. In 1850, California had a population of 120,000 according to one survey, 110,000 of them male. By 1852 women made up ten per cent of the population, by 1870 more than a quarter. During this era prostitution thrived, from the elegant courtesans who played a role in the city’s political and cultural life to the Chinese children who were worked to death in cribs, as the cubicles in which they laboured were called. Prices for everything skyrocketed: eggs were a dollar apiece in 1849, and a war broke out later over control of the stony Farallones islands rookery thirty miles west of San Francisco, where seabirds’ eggs were gathered to augment what the chickens could produce. A good pair of boots was a hundred dollars. Land downtown was so valuable that people bought water lots – plots of land in the bay – and filled them in.

    #histoire #tech_companies #gentrification

    Voir aussi : http://mondediplo.com/openpage/welcome-to-the-don-t-be-evil-empire

  • Living Under Drones

    In the United States, the dominant narrative about the use of drones in Pakistan is of a surgically precise and effective tool that makes the US safer by enabling “targeted killing” of terrorists, with minimal downsides or collateral impacts.[1]
    This narrative is false.
    Following nine months of intensive research—including two investigations in Pakistan, more than 130 interviews with victims, witnesses, and experts, and review of thousands of pages of documentation and media reporting—this report presents evidence of the damaging and counterproductive effects of current US drone strike policies. Based on extensive interviews with Pakistanis living in the regions directly affected, as well as humanitarian and medical workers, this report provides new and firsthand testimony about the negative impacts US policies are having on the civilians living under drones.

    #drones #droit #stanford

  • Med Schools Flunk at Keeping Faculty Off Pharma Speaking Circuit - ProPublica

    Des profs de #Stanford payés par l’industrie #pharma en violation des règles de la fac

    A #ProPublica investigation found that more than a dozen of the school’s doctors were paid speakers in apparent violation of its policy—two of them earning six figures since last year.
    Dr. Philip Pizzo, the dean of Stanford’s medical school, sent an e-mail [2] to all medical school staff last week calling the conduct “unacceptable.” Some doctors’ excuses, he wrote, were “difficult if not impossible to reconcile with our policy.”